It has become clear to me, over decades, that wedding professionals (including me) have a certain obsession with how we are perceived by brides, grooms, peers, and the rest of the planet. I plead guilty, by example.
In 1977, I co-founded my first DJ entertainment business, Music Man, two months before the release of Saturday Night Fever. With five years of nightclub DJ experience prior to my foray into mobile music, and a superb business partner, Scott Foell. Just seven months later, Music Man moved into an office-warehouse and by the end of the first year, the business was full-time.
In 1977-78, you would be hard-pressed to identify more than 5% of mobile DJ services as full time. It was not uncommon to have a party or wedding guest, ask, “What’s your day job… or What’s your full-time job?”
This was not an unreasonable question, as such a high percentage of mobile DJ’s were part-time. Yet, I took this as an affront, usually responding with some kind of smug response, such as, “I’m not sure I understand the question.”
It would have been easy to deflect the question, and respond, “I’m proud to say that our young enterprise is a full time operation.”
And so it still is true, today. There are many reasons for it, but similar questions-reactions are ever-present. As well, wedding businesses stress out over whether being referred to as a ‘wedding vendor’ is an insulting phrase, preferring ‘wedding professionals’. And within industry categories, there is the push and shove credibility battle between part-timers and full-timers. Not to be confused with “If I have an industry certification behind my name, I MUST be more competent than you are.”
What wedding and meeting planners think
Several years ago, I co-chaired a small conference. Co-chair, Jodi Harris (SightNSound Events), assembled a panel of DMCs, wedding and event planners. In moderating the panel, Jodi asked a straightforward question about preferences of working with, or recommending (to clients) part-time vs full-time DJs.
Those in attendance, all DJ Entertainers, were dumb struck to hear the consensus comments. The planners weren’t really concerned whether a company was full-time or part-time, large or small. Rather, they were focused, primarily, on the quality and consistency of the work, and availability to respond quickly to client communications.
There was no condescension in their responses, just a matter-of-fact nature. As entertainment professionals, the group had varied opinions of what should be important to planners; mostly, the reaction was stunned disbelief.
My conclusion on this narrow point
All too often, we feel it important to convince others (peers and the public) about our point of view (I plead guilty, again). Remembering even experienced professionals often disagree, it shouldn’t be surprising that the public has its own varied views.
Now, as an industry observer, from my marketing perch, I take a more empathetic view. I try to understand other people’s outlook and reasoning. If warranted, suggest a different view or approach. Having a more informed point of view is only helpful, though, if you don’t overplay your hand (I guess I have to plead guilty to overplaying my hand, too).
The force of ‘being right‘, to the exclusion of all else, may lose the sale or damage a business relationship. If one just did stellar work and supported it with solid marketing and public relations, the categorization or terminology used to describe a business, would become largely irrelevant.
Don’t you agree? …. And whether you do or don’t, your comments are welcome.
Wedding Marketing Authority